Stars and Stripes

The 4th of July is Wednesday and I’ve heard people saying that they don’t feel very patriotic this year.  I pondered this, as the thought of enjoying a fireworks display or preparing a festive summer picnic doesn’t seem like an appropriate celebration of America’s birthday when there are children in cages.

mexican child in cage fireworks

Then I thought, I’m not letting conservatives annex the holiday with their nationalistic “America First” and then use it to shame the rest of us because we don’t have a flag in our yard.

I put my red, white, and blue bunting on the back deck railing and put out a patriotic-themed garden flag. My front flower bed is decked with a stars and stripes pinwheel spinning merrily in the wind.

As I placed these in our yard, I thought of my colonial ancestors who struggled for American independence. I thought of the many nationalities that melded together on my family tree to produce me. That diverse ancestry is something I take pride in.

I need a flag with the message below on it. Then no one will mistake my patriotic display for support of the dictator-wannabe who is trying to dismantle our system of checks and balances and undermine the Constitution.

I could place it below the row of flag pennants fluttering from the porch railing.

My heart is heavy for the state of our country and for the racism that has bubbled to the surface. Perhaps it is good to know how we really stand and who we can rely on to march shoulder-to-shoulder with us for justice and equality for all.



Thanksgiving and Politics – Difficult Decisions

It’s hard to tamp down the overheated rhetoric of this ever-so-divisive election. Suddenly, the holidays are upon us and we aren’t even sure if we can bear to spend a whole day with certain family members. I see some online friends struggling with this. Here are some of the concerns and some solutions they’re going to try.

Online meme about Native Americans and undocumented immigrants.

M.L. has a great idea for Thanksgiving: “A tasty protest. If you feel obligated to have Trump supporting family members over for Thanksgiving. Do what I’m going to: have a Global Thanksgiving. No turkey here, just delicious food from all the countries and ethnicities that make up my community and my circle of friends.”

Another friend said, “This is great because you can feel good about it either way: if they like it, you’ve taught them the value of understanding people who are not the same as them. If they don’t like it, you get to smirk into your napkin as they shift uncomfortably in their seats and muddle through the meal.”

S.B.K. added an idea to expand on this, “I suggest that you play a soundtrack of world music while everyone is eating. Putumayo World Music puts out some fabulous albums.”

Someone suggested posting a sign at the door, “Politics not spoken here.”

B.H. had this perspective, “We have two options for dealing with Trump supporters in our family during the holidays:

A) Have the difficult conversations.

Don’t make it easy. Don’t fear making them uncomfortable. Part of the reason Trump was elected was because many white people, myself included, have not been having the difficult conversations with other white people. The old mantra of not bringing up politics or religion is dead. Bring it up. Make them squirm. Look up resources for having productive difficult conversations and practice as a family what you will say. If you’re thinking “I don’t want to ruin Thanksgiving” think about the LGBTQ youth who have been kicked out of their homes and might be without shelter in Trump’s America. Think about the undocumented people currently in detention centers. We need to sacrifice our own comfort to make the world a better place for them.

B) Don’t go/Don’t welcome.

We didn’t uninvite my in-laws to Thanksgiving, but we told them that we were deeply unhappy with them and didn’t really want to break bread with Trump supporters right now, so they uninvited themselves. These people voted for Trump because the bad stuff doesn’t affect them. Make them recognize actions have consequences. Make it affect them. A vote for Trump was a hateful act. The price should be your company and affection.

I recognize if you’re married to a Trump supporter these suggestions might not be possible, but I hope they are useful for confronting parents/siblings/cousins etc. Strength to you all as we navigate a difficult time together.”

V.B. is bypassing Thanksgiving with relatives, “I hope to go to the soup kitchen and serve. I want to give this year. I have a lot and more than enough to be thankful.”

A.L.B. has used these instructions in the past and it certainly seems appropriate for this election year Thanksgiving. “I actually post the ‘annual house rules’ when I invite everyone, since I do have friends of all types. It includes a ‘rule’ as follows: 3- My friends are diverse. They come in all colors, sizes, ages, ethnic groups, religious beliefs, political affiliations, orientations and with all kinds of hobbies/interests/passions. Negative energy or negative/inflammatory conversations of any kind are forbidden. I will toss out offenders. It’s my party, my favorite holiday and my house. Deal with it.

A lot of people are dreading Thanksgiving next week. If you find yourself with your stomach in knots,  then perhaps you need a new version of the holiday and not the same old family gathering.

Links for Planning a Haunted House

My page titled 101 Ideas for Haunted Houses moved recently from Squidoo to Hubpages. New guidelines do not allow more than two links to a single site. That means I had to remove these useful links.

I’m providing them here for anyone planning a haunted house.

List of Halloween Topics by Virginia Allain

Lens Rank Likes Visits

101 Ideas for Haunted Houses

307 113 1,469 week
188 today

2012 Best Baby Halloween Costu…

22,567 4 28 week
2 today

All I Know about Halloween

128,621 13 7 week
0 today

Amelia Earhart Costume

6,368 146 124 week
13 today

Baby Vampire Costumes

33,810 14 55 week
2 today

Barely There Costumes for a Nu…

27,692 69 102 week
20 today

Bloody Weapons for Halloween o…

115,222 11 10 week
0 today

Bloody Wounds Make Up Kits

46,605 11 27 week
1 today

Book Character Costumes: Go Li…

14,687 58 269 week
24 today

Buy a Renaissance Costume

38,112 11 18 week
1 today

Candy Corn Costume

102,828 7 7 week
4 today

Costume Accessories and Props

138,567 3 4 week
1 today

Costumes for Horses for Horse …

501 135 538 week
83 today

Creepy Spider Decorations for …

47,238 14 12 week
0 today

Cute or Sexy Cowgirl Costumes?…

31,168 11 41 week
6 today

Draw Cartoon Ghosts for Hallow…

26,790 35 102 week
16 today

Epic Baby Halloween Costumes

74,783 6 7 week
2 today

Eye Wear for Costumes

101,405 11 14 week
1 today

Fun Halloween Costumes for Cou…

70,417 13 26 week
3 today

Golf Cart Fun: Personalize It,…

17,057 118 140 week
11 today

Good Reads for Young Vampire F…

161,777 13 4 week
0 today

Gothic Fairy Costume

111,666 6 5 week
1 today

Halloween Costumes For Childre…

111,903 1 3 week
0 today

Halloween Drink Recipes

27,730 41 65 week
7 today

Halloween Onesies For Infants

87,965 8 7 week
1 today

Halloween Party Foods

43,473 21 29 week
3 today

Hats for Halloween Costumes

177,089 11 5 week
2 today

Haunted House in Chelsea, Kans…

247,244 5 1 week
0 today

Jack O Lantern Ideas

42,470 17 36 week
0 today

Pilgrim Costume for Halloween …

101,682 10 7 week
0 today

Regency Dress – Jane Austen Co…

13,257 40 69 week
10 today

Saloon Bartender Costume

22,710 9 25 week
2 today

Shoes for Costumes for Adults

134,625 4 3 week
1 today

Spooky Window Posters

5,314 54 91 week
6 today

Steampunk Fairies – Costume Id…

28,789 23 32 week
5 today

Sunflower Costumes for Any Occ…

29,498 24 35 week
4 today

Take a Florida Ghost Tour

219,488 10 1 week
0 today

True Accounts of Hauntings

164,947 13 3 week
0 today

Turn a Graduation Robe into a …

65,462 18 27 week
2 today

Turn a Prom Dress into a Hallo…

18,190 51 116 week
13 today

Vintage Black Cats for Hallowe…

57,087 12 30 week
2 today

Western Gunslinger Costume

27,054 20 37 week
5 today

World of Warcraft Costumes

6,287 83 285 week
33 today

Zombie Costume Ideas for All A…

34,792 11 21 week
2 today

Topics for Thanksgiving Week

Pilgrim Costume for Thanksgiving Pilgrim Costume for Thanksgiving
This looks great for a Thanksgiving pageant or a school history program. Wouldn’t it be fun for the children to dress in pilgrim costumes to read poems at t…
Thanksgiving Decor - Table Runners Thanksgiving Decor – Table Runners
A Thanksgiving table runner sets the tone for the holiday table decoration. When it’s time for the big turkey feast, you’ll want the table to look extra spe…
Place Card Holders Thanksgiving & Other Holidays Place Card Holders Thanksgiving & Other Holidays
A well-dressed table sets the stage for a festive family gathering for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Valentine’s Day table complete with special place card…
Updated 8 days ago | place card holderschristmas table
Walking Off Thanksgiving Calories Walking Off Thanksgiving Calories
At Thanksgiving, people usually remove all restraints from their eating. Indulging in extra helpings of mashed potatoes, pecan pie and other holiday delights…
Updated 18 days ago | overeatingcalorie counter
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
  The stores stock up on canned cranberry sauce, chilled whipped topping, and other quick fix foods to simplify the Thanksgiving Day preparations. Actually,…
It's Turkey Day It’s Turkey Day
Americans sometimes refer to the Thanksgiving holiday as “Turkey Day” because of the emphasis on the big turkey dinner. Of course, the holiday is so…
Holiday Writing Triggers for Family Memories Holiday Writing Triggers for Family Memories
Following the calendar, I’ll give memory prompts to start you writing about long ago holidays. It’s important to write down these memories to save for your…

Getting Ready for Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day is coming up fast. I should have made some Squidoo lenses about gifts for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day, but just couldn’t seem to get psyched up for it. I do have one lens (webpage) about Collecting Vintage Valentines. I collected most of my valentines years ago when I regularly went to flea markets and yard sales. It’s fun to get them out each year and put them on display.

My other Valentine’s webpage is about my brother who was born on that holiday. It’s called The Valentine Birthday Boy.

Never Too Many Christmas Ornaments

I collect Christmas tree ornaments as momentos of places I’ve lived, pets I’ve had, as travel souvenirs and so many other reasons. Needless to say, my Christmas tree is pretty eclectic. Eventually I got a bigger tree, but still there wasn’t room for all the meaningful ornaments.

Now I put up two small trees in other rooms of the house. They are just little 3-foot trees, but I can work with a theme on these, so one is my basket tree to show off all the miniature baskets I’ve collected.

Here are some other themes that I like and that might appeal to you. I grew up in Kansas, so decorating the tree with a Kansas theme takes me back to my childhood roots.

I found a variety of themes to make your Christmas tree special.  Check out the ideas for a themed Christmas tree.

There have been some weddings in the family lately, so I looked for special Bride’s Christmas Ornaments. There are some wonderful ones, so I made a webpage about those.

I worked in public libraries for thirty years. Over the years we tried out many ways to get the tree decorated in an interesting way. If your library needs ideas, check out my webpage on Decorate a Library Christmas Tree.

My sister collected angels. I have a few, but never really concentrated on just angels. When I started looking at what was available, I was amazed. Take a look at all the Angel Christmas Tree Ornaments I found.